Under Texas’ new ID law, voting woes start in the middle

Posted Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy Voting is tougher now, thanks to your Legislature.

But also not as tough as it might sound.

Basically, if the middle name or initial on your driver’s license and voter card don’t match — then hold it right there, pardner.

You won’t be able to exercise your legal right to vote until you initial a “Similar Name Affidavit.”

But that just amounts to initialing a form.

The scare stories about voter ID reached a fever pitch this week, when a district judge in Nueces County went to vote and found that her 52-year-old ID cards weren’t welcomed.

On the voter roll, she’s Sandra Lee Watts. On her driver’s license, she’s Sandra Mathison Watts.

Under Texas’ new law by state Sen. Troy Lynn Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), that’s not a good match.

“I don’t think most women know this is going to create a problem,” Watts told kiii-TV.

It’s a hangup for men, too, if they have only a middle initial on one ID and a middle name on the other.

But it won’t stop voting.

“I don’t see why initialing a box on a form is so much trouble,” said Tarrant County Elections Administrator Stephen (middle initial R. only) Raborn.

More than 6,000 voters have already cast ballots in the Nov. 5 election, mainly in the Fort Worth schools and Bedford city bond elections and on the Arlington liquor proposition.

“We have had absolutely no problems,” he said.

The lone complaint came from a husband who wanted to know why the election judge gave his wife a name-change form for a new card, Raborn said.

The only real slowdown starts if the election judge can’t substantially match the IDs. That voter has to cast a provisional ballot for review later.

The Nueces County clerk and election official is either Diana T. Barrera or Diana Tapia Barrera, depending on the ID.

“A lot of us don’t match,” she said. “My husband’s IDs don’t match.

“But our votes will be counted. The judge was not happy about her vote going to an election board. That won’t happen. These votes will be counted.”

You can see why there might be some confusion.

But just go vote.

Bet you can.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy

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